One of the most exciting trends I am seeing in USA right now is the growth of missional tech businesses and their innovations in social enterprises and overseas development, which sometimes rival or even surpass current efforts by traditional missions organizations or denominational efforts.
Yesterday we drove through Durham, North Carolina, in our Vacation-Ready-Brady-Bunch-Station-Wagon, and we paid a visit to Bandwidth.com to chat with them about their efforts in local and international missions. Thanks Fritz Kling for the HT.
Bandwidth.com is a rapidly-growing telecommunications company with 180 employees and over $100 million in annual revenue. Young, geeky, hip, friendly, casual and just crazy enough to think they can change the world. And yes, Bandwidth has a blog. Duh!
I met Co-founder Henry Kaestner briefly. A really nice guy wearing a yellow cycle helmet and matching spandex [hello Stryper!] who jumped off his bike to say hello and admire our station wagon. He went quite ga-ga over it, actually, and I let him sit in the drivers seat. Apparently he got his license in exactly the same vehicle.
But I spent most of my time with Mike Schneider and Jonathan Mitchell, both MK’s and both totally up to date with the international missions scene and a hundred ideas on how to help.
Here’s a few of those ideas that are still in beta but hold a lot of potential.
1. Ministry Spotlight will be a marketplace for matching ministry opportunities and donors who want to invest in them. Already the Ministry Spotlight blog is racking up some very readable and informative articles. If you want to take it for a spin, try adding your ministry or project to the database.
2. We talked about water, a compelling topic and a money-magnet in international development right now, something that people are investing in without always knowing if those wells get used or not, or whether they work or not. The folk at Bandwidth.com are developing a site called Giving to Clean Water to spotlight that issue and there is a social network connected to it.
3. Bandwidth have also started a website focused on local issues called Durham Cares. Always a good idea to impact the local setting and stay real. Henry talks about Durham Cares, as well as his “missions calling” on this video.
Can geeks change the world?
Well, if they don’t, it won’t be from lack of trying.
Will the world of traditional international missions recognize it?
I sure hope so, because they have a lot to offer.